The moustache is back ‘in’! Well, it is for the month of November at least. For four weeks men around the world engage in a bit of hair growing on the upper lip to raise awareness and funds for men’s health – especially prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
But how does this relate to workplace stress? Well, we know that various levels of stress can be useful now and then – the rush of ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ hormones drive us to get important things done. But we tend to feel stress daily even though we might not need it and it can have an impact. Excess stress can increase the risk of mental health problems such as depression, or even cancer.
With one in eight men in the UK suffering from prostate cancer at some stage in their lives, and mixed anxiety and depression being the most common mental disorder in Britain, it’s vital that men’s health is cared for – at home and at work.
So at Pure we’re doing our bit to help raise awareness of how you can ease stress levels at the office, and support the men of the East of England in giving yourself a fighting chance against serious health issues. Here’s how you can make a start…
1. Prioritise projects
If you’re workload is overflowing with tasks that all seem urgent, take a moment to look at the list again. Be honest about what needs to be done immediately, and what can wait. Break down the constant stream of work and keep a daily list of priorities so you stay on top of everything.
2. Be a sport
Techniques often used in sports psychology and coaching can be adapted to help you create a deeper sense of self-awareness that benefits you, your work and other areas of your life. Practises such as breathing and physical exercises, visualisation and even positive affirmations can create an ability to release unwanted worries and stress, and ‘tune in’ to what you’re feeling. You can be more aware of the present moment, which can help avoid knee-jerk reactions that can make stressful situations worse.
3. The big breakfast
Be strict with yourself and make time for a good breakfast. You need to provide your body with the right fuel to get you through seven hours of work, so a cup of black coffee to start the day just won’t do the job. Get out of bed 15 minutes earlier to fit in breakfast, or if your mornings are just too hectic (the kids need to get to school before you can even think about putting a morsel in your mouth) and you end up eating at your desk, make sure you’ve got porridge, muesli and fruit that’ll give your body what it needs until lunch.
4. Lighten the load
At the risk of generalising here, women tend to talk to friends or discuss issues with their manager. And it makes sense. Just the act of talking through a concern can reduce stress – you get more perspective and the opportunity to reassess your priorities. So, if there’s something playing on your mind, meet a friend for a round of golf (or whatever hobby you’re into), and let off some steam.
5. Handover tasks
Sometimes you simply can’t manage everything yourself and the stress levels you’re experiencing just aren’t worth it. So break up your tasks and delegate them to colleagues or to people in your team. This is good for everyone – you get to relax a little, while the person you’re delegating too gets to develop their skills. As long as you’re there to give guidance, it’s a win, win situation.
6. Take holidays
Everyone’s favourite stress reduction method! For the sake of your health, don’t forget to take annual leave and don’t assume you can work your way through a year non-stop. A break reinvigorates the mind and body. Do you have any days left? Got your eye on that amazing deal somewhere tropical? What more reason do you need? Go on…book it!
7. Grow a mo’
Although we’re not aware of the stress-reducing benefits of growing a moustache, it could be daily reminder to look after your health and show others that you’re supporting the cause. Why not hold a mo’ awards ceremony on November 29th for the most ‘retro’ whiskers and ask colleagues to sponsor your courageous endeavour?
Whatever you do, have a great Movember! But remember, you’re responsible for your own health - make this month the time to make those important changes